Sun, May 13, 2007 - Page 24 News List

Landis makes explosive claim

SHOOTING FROM THE LIPLast year's Tour de France winner had some damning words for the US Anti-Doping Agency, but a spokesman made light of his comments


Floyd Landis warmed up for his doping arbitration hearing with another swipe at the US Anti-Doping Agency, (USADA) claiming the organization offered him a short sentence if he provided information incriminating Lance Armstrong.

Landis, who is battling to keep the Tour de France title he won last year, said that USADA general counsel Travis Tygart approached his attorney, Howard Jacobs, with a deal shortly after learning of Landis' positive doping test during the Tour.

"That took place in the first conversation between USADA and my lawyer," Landis said at a press conference looking ahead to the start of his arbitration hearing tomorrow.

"Unless Mr. Landis waives the confidentialty rule, I can't speak," Tygart said of the claim. "If he does waive the confidentialty rule, I'll be happy to address all of his ridiculous claims."

USADA has in the past reduced penalties for those who provide evidence of doping violations by others, but asking for information about specific athletes is not allowed.

Landis, who stands to lose his tour title as well as face a ban, said he had no information that would incriminate Armstrong, the seven-time winner of the Tour de France who has faced numerous unproven doping accusations.

Landis said he didn't expect the subject to arise during his hearing before a three-man panel of the American Arbitration Association, which is expected to last 10 days.

"We would wish the hearing would be about science and about a doping case," he said.

Landis and his advisers argue that the French laboratory that found an unusually high level of testosterone in his sample given after the stunning stage 17 triumph that keyed his Tour victory failed to follow proper procedures in handling the samples.

"All I can hope for, really, is that the three arbitrators will listen to the facts in the case," he said.

However, the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD) on Friday claimed that allegations of improper procedures had been proven unfounded following an examination of the process followed which resulted in Landis's positive test by three independent experts.

"The three independent experts are in accordance with the results and that the laboratory [Chatenay-Malabry] worked in a very professional way," AFLD president Pierre Bordry said.

Bordry said that they had passed on their findings to the USADA.

"Landis refused to provide the USADA with the report from these experts so I've decided to pass it on directly to the USADA," he added.

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